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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [02.02.04]
Manufactured by: Intel

Prices: 3.2GHz: $278
3.4 GHz: $417

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Okay, I have to come straight out and say it clearly: Clock for clock, in many cases, Prescott is slower than Northwood.

You probably already know that though, judging from the responses I've seen in our forum.

However, you have to consider all the other changes and improvements Intel made to Prescott to really get an idea of what it is all about. Prescott is Intel's future, not their present. It is cheaper to manufacture, is designed for future applications, and will scale higher than Northwood ever would be able to.

So it would seem to me that although it is available in clock speeds down to 2.8 GHz, and at exact price parity with Northwood, it is probably not recommended that you buy a Prescott P4 over a Northwood right now. At best, it is just as fast as Northwood. At worst, it is slower. Add the heat factor in, and you have very few reasons to run out and buy this CPU today.

So although many people seem concerned about this 'lacklustre' launch of the newest P4, you have to consider the future, and if you do, you can only be impressed with what Intel has done with the Prescott CPU. They are the first to have a 90nm CPU, and it works flawlessly. It will only get faster from here, even on a clock-for-clock basis, as developers make use of the new SSE instructions and Hyperthreading advancements. The larger L2 cache comes into play already, and will even moreso in the future.